By Paul Gueorgieff, Editor Golfer Pacific NZ
Brent Paterson twice represented New Zealand at the world’s top amateur teams’ event, the Eisenhower Trophy. More than 30 years later he is still playing some of his best golf.
Paterson played in his first Eisenhower in 1986 when it was held in the South American country of Venezuela. Four years later he was again part of the New Zealand team when the tournament was held in Christchurch.
That was particularly notable in that New Zealand finished second to Sweden. Paterson’s teammates for that event in 1990 were the well-known golf names of Michael Long, Steven Alker and Grant Moorhead.
A lot of golf balls have been hit in the interim but Paterson continues to perform at the top level, which was highlighted with his win in the New Zealand Seniors Championship, held at the Ohope International Golf Club in Bay of Plenty last month.
But the last 12 months has also provided three other highlights. Paterson’s best score for a round of golf had been 65 which he achieved at the Christchurch Golf Club more than three decades ago.
But in March of last year he racked up successive rounds of 65 at the Hamilton and Walton golf clubs and four months later he scored an amazing 63 at the Royal Auckland Golf Club, of which Paterson is a member.
His round of 63 included eight birdies, one eagle and one bogey.
“Last year was my best year in golf, which is just crazy,’’ Paterson recalled to Golfer Pacific.
“I equalled my personal best twice and then blow me down, a few months later, I shot a 63.’’
Paterson won the New Zealand Seniors by six shots but he said that margin is misleading.
“That was the result but it was much tighter than it appears,’’ he said.
Paterson went into the final of the three rounds with a lead of one shot over Bay of Plenty golfer Andries Cloete.
“But after seven holes I was three shots behind. He (Cloete) was playing out of his skin. The first four or five holes are quite tricky and he played unbelievably well.’’
But a good finish by Paterson with birdies in the last five holes saw him coast to victory and add to a great record in the tournament.
The New Zealand Seniors is for players aged 50 and older. Paterson, 56, said he had played in the tournament five times for a record of two wins, a second and two thirds. His previous win was in 2013 when it was held at Taupo.
Consequently it is no surprise that Paterson said he has an affection for the tournament.
“I really like the tournament. It’s a pretty special tournament to go to. There is anything from 140 to 180 players that go to it.
“It’s quite special in that the camaraderie is outstanding. It doesn’t quite have that cut-throat nature that some of the tournaments for younger players I play in has.
“But it remains very, very competitive.’’
Paterson also paid tribute to the members of the Ohope club which hosted the event.
“The effort the members put into the course, the catering and everything was unbelievable. It is probably one of the better tournaments I’ve been to and the course is real gem.’’
Paterson is a Cantabrian and was adept at many sports. As a child he played tennis in Christchurch to national age-group level and was a Canterbury rugby representative at age level.
It was until as an early teenager that golf took Paterson’s attention but he learned very quickly.
“I joined a club when I was 14 and the first handicap I got was 12. I remember being on a two handicap when I was 15.’’
He went on to represent and win for Canterbury at golf in the Interprovincials Championship, the country’s top teams event.
Paterson first played at the Harewood Golf Club in Christchurch and recalls two names that helped in his tuition of the game.
“The people that would have left an influence on me were, firstly, Bob McDonald. He used to be the professional at Harewood.’’
The second name was that of New Zealand-based Australian Alex Mercer. Paterson said Mercer also helped with the technicalities of the golf swing but more importantly taught him about management around the golf course.
“You get a lot of coaches who teach how to swing a golf club but few about how to learn how to get round the golf course.
“Alex Mercer was outstanding in that department. That was my big learning curve, learning how to score, how to get around the golf course.’’
Paterson worked for Brierley Properties in Christchurch and transferred with the job to Auckland in 1990.
He is now working as a personal investments manager. But one of his main tasks presently is being at the forefront in the merger of neighbouring golf clubs Royal Auckland and The Grange.
The two courses are being changed into a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed course along with a new clubhouse and new maintenance facilities.